I think reality shows flourished because of the Writer’s Guild of America 2007 strike. The networks needed content, and wouldn’t negotiate with the writers until February of 2008. The strike lasted from November 5th 2007 to February 12th 2008. That was an entire season of content where 12,00 writers said no.
Now we had reality shows before the strike, but they were just slot fillers at the time. When the networks made them a priority, and realized how popular they became, the reality show became a mainstay.
Remember ‘Friends’? The actors were making 1 million dollars an episode. A reality show became economical to the networks. Some had a $50,00 a week prize, while others did the win a million at the end. People would do the ludicrous to attain those prizes, and the audience would enjoy watching them do the ludicrous.
Survivor, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Big Brother, American Idol, and the rest exploded across the airwaves. They even got celebrities to dance in front of the nation. The scary part is that they are still going strong.
I even got trapped in the leave you brain in the closet, Jerry Springer typed programming. I watch Faceoff.
The reality show has become an insidious force that won’t go away. VH1 started with The Surreal Life, and are up to some LA preacher show now. Isn’t it time for the networks to invest in good, written shows like Firefly? Oh wait, FOX cancelled them after one season.
All I’m saying is that the writer’s strike has been over for years, so the networks should replace the emergency back ups with real ammunition. They should be tired of firing blanks, however, they’re hitting their targets with those blanks. We just have to discernibly dodge better, and don’t believe the bang.